There is significant scope in the UK for financial advisers to increase their recommendations to use professional trustee services, according to research from Skandia International.
The survey results show that while the majority of advisers (80 per cent) proactively recommend who the trustees should be, just a small proportion of those recommendations automatically fall to professional trustees.
The majority (67 per cent) of advisers in the UK who recommend who the trustee should be said who they recommend was dependant on the client’s individual circumstances. Only 12 per cent said they would automatically recommend a professional trustee and 21 per cent said they would automatically recommend a family member/friend. This places UK advisers behind Asia, Europe and the Middle East, who all automatically recommend professional trustees for their clients more often than UK advisers.
The role of trustee carries with it significant responsibility and should not be underestimated. These duties include reviewing documents, maintaining trust records, filing the appropriate tax return and undertaking yearly trust and asset reviews. Depending on the jurisdiction governing the client’s tax liability, there may be tax to pay on the creation of the trust, or at some future date. A professional trustee will handle the complex task of calculating the tax liability and can add real value to the management of the trust. This will offer clients great comfort and reassurance that the trust is being administered appropriately.
Phil Oxenham, head of proposition marketing at Skandia, says: “Trusts are increasingly becoming a core component in wealth planning. The role of trustee is hugely important, especially where large, complex estates are concerned. Leaving this role to friends and family to fulfil can be a daunting task for them, and they could find themselves in a predicament when it comes to distributing the trust fund, or being personally liable for their actions. Delegating this responsibility to an impartial professional, who knows and understands the legal and reporting framework, and who will act in line with the aims of the trust, can bring peace of mind to the client knowing that all matters are taken care of.”